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Figs Mediterranean Cafe, Moroccan in Palisades - Report

Steve | Mar 7, 201503:47 AM

I went by Figs Mediterranean Cafe, tucked away in an English basement in Palisades across from the Safeway. Khadija Bouanas, formerly of Pyramids, is doing the cooking, though she is not the owner. Pyramids was one of the great Chowhound discoveries in DC, and it was a very happy reunion.

The place is set up like a deli with most foods being prepared in advance, sitting in a cold display case. If something needs to be heated up, it will hit the microwave, which is perfectly good for some things. Cold items will be served a touch colder than I normally like.

Her cooking is great. Much, much better than anyone has a right to expect.

The zaalouk (mashed eggplant) is a must, and I expect that it is always available. She offered me a portion of bakola which is a spinach stew with lemon and garlic. ALso a must order. But it was still on the stove when she gave it to me. By the time I was ready to leave, she had put that out on the counter as well. Also excellent was the baba ganouj, though I prefer it room temperature rather than cold. All of it startlingly good. Ask for these items.

The felafel recipe (it is spicy) is from her Egyptian husband's family, and if it were freshly fried it would be fantastic. But this is not really prime condition for the felafel. The moujadara (a lentil mixture with fried onions) would be very good if I hadn't had the things which are great.

She is very enthusiastic about her food, and when she starts talking about it, she rattles off a ridiculously long list of ingredients for each item. Do not try this at home! In fact, talking with her is like talking with Chef Seng of Bangkok Golden. Sounds great, and I am ever so glad I don't have to make it; I can just come here to eat it.

She is a treasure, and her talent shines through. If you go , make sure to ask what is Moroccan, those will be the best times.

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